North Korean 'Amnok Class' Corvettes Launched Hwasal-2 Cruise Missiles

North Korean 'Amnok Class' Corvettes Launched Hwasal-2 Cruise Missiles

Located in the Sea of Japan, 21 August 2023, the North Korean Navy and Kim Jong Un have captured the world's attention, namely for the first time publicizing the moment of the launch of the Hwasal-2 cruise missile from a corvette. 

In addition to the so-called cruise missile capability, it can reach up to 2,000 km. world attention is also focused on the missile launcher warship. With a semi-stealth and modern design, what is meant is the Amnok class corvette made in North Korea.

Inevitably, the emergence of the Amnok class became the material for analysis by the West, one of whom still doubted that North Korea was really capable of producing corvettes with such a sophisticated configuration. 

This is because the North Korean Navy only has a very limited fleet of surface ships, so it is seen as inefficient to build its own surface warships. Analysts immediately linked the involvement of China and Russia in the development of the Amnok class.

As shown in the circulating photos, the Amnok class Hwasal-2 missile launcher has hull number 661. So what are the specifications for the Amnok class corvettes? Of course, Pyongyang will not release any information regarding this matter. However, an analysis can be carried out to find out the specifications of the Amnok class corvette which is the pride of Kim Jong Un.

Reporting from, the weight of the Amnok class is estimated to be in the range of 2,000-3,000 tons, with the characteristics of a modern combatant ship. The corvettes were thoughtfully designed by reducing the radar cross section (RCS) as much as possible and adding the most modern weapons and sensors available in North Korea.

However, despite North Korea's efforts, it seems likely that most of the weapons and sensors in the Amno class are hopelessly out of date when compared to Western or Asian designs. From the equipment on board, it can be assumed that North Korea is using systems and weapons from retired ships such as the Najin class light frigates.

In terms of armament, in the bow there is an older 100 mm gun, possibly a 100 mm/56 (3.9″) B-34 Pattern 1940 variant with a turret similar to the 100 mm/56 (3.9″) Chinese Type 79, in a open-back turret similar to World War II ship turrets. Behind the gun are four anti-submarine rocket launchers, very similar to the Russian/Soviet RBU-1200.

The inclined superstructure on the hull houses eight launchers for the Hwasal-2 long-range surface-to-surface cruise missile, a cruise missile presumed to carry a nuclear warhead.

Behind the Hwasal-2 missile launcher, there is a helicopter hangar with a modern design, an automatic sextuple short-range SA-16 (Igla) anti-missile launcher, and an AK-630 CIWS gun. In position B and in front of the bridge, there are two 14.5mm caliber 6-barreled gatling gun turrets which are operated manually.

Meanwhile amidships, there are likely 533 mm torpedo tubes hidden behind large hatches. On this deck accommodated a skiff there as well as six sextuple decoy launchers. As for sensors, the first tower houses the main radar, which is identical to the Chinese-made 2D X-band Type 362 (MR36A) air and surface search radar and target indication radar, and two navigation radars, one of which is S-band Furuno.

Is it true that Amnok class is produced by North Korea?

Is it true that Amnok class is produced by North Korea

Citing sources from, the Amnok class is a former Hetman Bayda Vyshnevetsky (ex-Krasny Vympel), a Krivak III corvette built for the Ukrainian Navy which was scrapped in 1995. It is believed that one incomplete Krivak III hull was transferred to Russia and in 2003, and the incomplete hull was sold. to North Korea.

Between North Korea, China and Russia, it is bounded by the Amnok and Tuman rivers respectively. It appears that Western intelligence has assigned North Korea's new corvettes/frigates the names of the two rivers. The corvette is powered by Combined gas turbine and gas turbine (COGAG) propulsion with two gas turbine engines.

In November 2007 Google Earth caused a stir with an image of a warship anchored, guns removed, in the port of Nampo near the Taedong River in North Korea. The Krivak class frigate, 123.5 meters long and 3,000 tonnes, is produced in Russia. The photo attracts attention because North Korea is known to only have three warships with displacements in the range of 1,000 – 1,600 tons.

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